Mark Levin is in such denial it’s almost painful to read. He describes my attempt to educate him about the widespread abuse and torture of military detainees as a series of “looney” links. Those links are to four government reports, the Red Cross, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, CBS News, the Guardian, and the New York Times. I know that the right believes all those organizations are now officially “looney,” especially the Red Cross, but really. Levin goes further and accuses me of lying. I’ll take just one outrageous charge – that I have been

“falsely contending that interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay found their way to Abu Ghraib (as if those convicted of mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib, including putting underwear on a prisoner’s head, were tutored by honorable soldiers interrogating terrorists at GITMO), and on and on.’

Well, he hasn’t read the reports and doesn’t want to. But let me quote from the Schlesinger Report, ordered up by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:

We noted earlier that migration of interrogation techniques from Afghanistan to Iraq. Those interrogation techniques were authorized only for Operation Enduring Freedom [the Afghanistan campaign]. More important, their authorization in Afghanistan and Guantanamo was possible only because the President had determined that individuals subjected to these interrogation techniques fell outside the strict protections of the Geneva Conventions.”

My italics. There is also a direct link from the abuse and torture authorized at Guantanamo and that at Abu Ghraib: General Geoffrey Miller, who was sent from Cuba to “Gitmoize” Abu Ghraib, where he told Janis Karpinski to treat detainees “like dogs.” Memos exist detailing commands to “break” the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Miller has never been disciplined. He was doing what Rumsfeld told him to do – which is why Rumsfeld’s own profession of “shock” at Abu Ghraib was itself a shocking piece of dishonesty or, again, denial. These are simply the facts, as reported by the Bush administration itself. Levin must withdraw his assertions that I am “falsely contending” anything, and his depraved attempt to argue that what happened at Abu Ghraib amounted to no more than a few panties on a few heads. He also asserts that Ronald Reagan authorized the torture of military detainees. That is a slander against the former president, which Levin must also withdraw. The strange thing is that I really think he believes what he’s writing. That level of denial and ignorance is necessary to keep a certain cognitive dissonance alive. But it has nothing to do with journalism; and even less to do with reality.


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